Data Strategies
Data Round Up // Clear Strategy

In Part 2 of our weekly Data Round Up blog series, we summarize a lengthy, yet incredibly useful guide on organizational data strategies from Deloitte. Specifically, we dissect the 4 data foundations all companies need in 2019. If you’re interested in reading more on this topic, a link will be provided at the end. Let’s dive in!

Data Strategies

As we increasingly move towards a digital age, we increasingly reach the age of data utilization. If you ask an executive about their company’s mission statement, it’s almost a guarantee they will be able to recite it. However, the same cannot be said about their data strategy. Deloitte agrees that we need to bridge this gap. During Deloitte’s recent 2019 data activation guide, 80 executives from top media companies across 16 countries voiced their opinions. The survey results revealed a glaring need for improved data strategies. Among the execs, only 9% classified their company as achieving a leading state of data maturity. Acting in the interest of the other 91%, Deloitte offers 4 data foundations necessary for improving overall data strategies. “There are core cultural, technological, skill- based, and data-related capabilities required to successfully activate audience data.” 

Culture

Starting with culture, Deloitte says we should strive for leadership to be data forward. Further, KPIs need to bring teams together by using an overarching organizational objective tied to a well-defined metric. This incentivizes a collaborative culture, rather than a culture where teams are isolated through individual KPIs. Although, Deloitte warns this may require breaking down established walls. In a similar vein, it’s essential to create mechanisms that both require and support cross-functional work. By having the data and IT teams develop an infrastructure that captures and reports relevant data in a straight-forward and timely manner, your business culture is inherently promoting better data strategies. Lastly, it’s essential to allow for experimentation. Not only do leading firms collect data, they create it. By utilizing A/B testing, you can find optimal strategies and improve your marketing initiatives through real feedback.

Data Culture Tweet

Skill

Second, Deloitte points out the need for a unique skill set. In the end, this comes down to the attraction and utilization of talent; being sure to develop the specialized data skills along the way. As Deloitte points out, “establishing a permanent fit for data talent in the organizational design is critical to bringing the most qualified voices to the table in any data-focused effort.” There are 3 actions companies must take to obtain this goal. 

First, you must identify what skills you need. Commonly, leading data companies will have highly technical data architects responsible for constructing the back end of how data flows, and insight generators who organize and analyze data to make it actionable. Additionally, companies will have business translators who serve as catalysts between architects, generators, and the rest of the organization. Their goal is to communicate what the data means in relation to the overall business goals. Lastly, Data governors are needed in order to understand regulatory requirements as well as the legal and security risks associated with customer data.

After you have the skills you need, you must integrate your talent. While Deloitte found that there is no “right” way, there are 3 common structures. One has a centralized data team which acts as a share capability for the company, another has data specialists scattered across various teams, and the last is a hybrid of the two. After sorting your structure, the final step is attracting the right talent. One common method is displaying your data friendly culture and specifying the nature of the role (ex. innovation based). Lastly, don’t be afraid to fill gaps with third parties.

Technology

The third data foundation essential to every company is utilizing the necessary technologies. Deploying the right technology to embed data in your key business functions is fundamental to the success of all data strategies. Often an unfamiliar territory for executives, it’s important to collaborate with data specialists and the IT team when determining what’s the correct technology to incorporate. 

As part of Deloitte’s survey, over 50% of respondents stated “access to the right technologies” as a bottleneck on their digital transformation journey. There are a few steps you can take to mediate this issue. First, democratize your data by using self-service tools and applications. Self-service tools allows teams to independently access data and frees up the data teams to work on more sophisticated initiatives, rather than constantly reporting their data. Second, you must expand your technology toolbox. Leading companies reported ownership of the following tech components: A data management platform, a customer relationship management platform, reporting and web analytics tools, a data warehouse, cloud computing, etc. Additionally, as we approach 2020, it’s becoming ever-so critical to invest in Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning. Lastly, don’t be afraid to license customizable solutions from vendors.

Data

The fourth and final data foundation for improving overall data strategies is data literacy. First, you need to understand the source of your data. If it’s first party data, this is information you collect from your consumers/viewers. Second party data comes from a source outside of your organization; it’s that entity’s first party data. Last, third party data comes from a source outside your company which curates information from various other platforms. Next, you need to categorize your data based on what it tells you. If you’re looking at data for pages viewed and session length, this can be grouped together into a browsing behavior category. After collecting, analyzing, and categorizing enough data, you’re finally ready to activate a data strategy! With all 4 data foundations in place, your company is ready to conquer the digital age.

If you enjoyed part 2 of our Data Round Up, feel free to give us a share. To read the full report, click the link here. To learn more about Clear Strategies expertise, click here. If you want to check out part 1, you’re in luck. We’ll see you next week for part 3!